Tuesday, November 24, 2015


(Hymn Tune: Gabriel's "Higher Ground")

The church is strongest when we see
Its members all have bowed the knee
And raised to God the fervent prayer
That all the earth God’s love may share.
Like rushing wind and roaring fire,
God's Spirit will the church inspire
To kneel in prayer this very hour
And ask for wonder-working power.

The church is richest when it gives--
When in commitment truly lives
A spirit of humility
That fears sin more than poverty.
Like rushing wind and roaring fire, 
God's Spirit will the church inspire
To freely give this very hour
Releasing wonder-working power.

The church is greatest when it works
In hidden places where sin lurks,
In distant lands where ign'rance reigns,
Midst urban hovels' desperate pains.
Like rushing wind and roaring fire,
God's Spirit will the church inspire
To dedicate this very hour
Its hands for wonder-working power.

The church is happiest when it sings,
When voices praise, when clarion rings
Above the pandemonium 
The joyful song of God's dear Son.
Like rushing wind and roaring fire, 
God's Spirit will the church inspire
To advocate this very hour
Good news of wonder-working power.

Let wonder-working power rest
On each of us, and with our best
We'll pray, we'll give, we'll work, we'll sing
'Til all the world declares You King.
Like rushing wind and roaring fire, 
Your Spirit will the church inspire
To venture forth this very hour
And live in wonder-working power.

 © Copyright 1995 Michael Fink
 Used by permission

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


(I found this letter in an old office file. It was written by Merle Craigmiles, a member of the first church I served as pastor. I found it so touching that I wanted to share it with you. It uniquely starts with a “P.S.” and addresses the question that I borrowed as the title of this post.)

P.S. This is full of mistakes and scratched up pretty bad, but I didn’t have the time or patience to rewrite it. I know if I laid it aside to redo it, you would never get it.

Dear Mike,

Your sermon Sunday morning reminded me of something I wrote more than thirty years ago (about 1942). At that time we were living in Huntington, West Virginia. I was a member of Temple Baptist Church. We always spoke of the church building as the Temple. My hometown was just about fifty miles away, Portsmouth, Ohio. So many times, instead of going to church, we would go home. I didn’t consider myself a very faithful church member.

On one of these trips home we went visiting out in the country one Sunday evening. It was summer; she had chairs out on the lawn. When she invited us in, we said, “Let’s just sit out here.” In a few minutes a church bell started ringing. The sound of that church bell did something to me. I had a real homesick feeling to be back in church. When I explained to my friend how I felt, she said, “Let’s go. We have a good preacher. We have as good singers as you would find in any church.”

When we went inside the church, the first thing I noticed was a plaque on the wall that read:
     If every member of this church
     Was a member just like me,
     What kind of church
     Would this church be?

The preacher’s sermon was good. I enjoyed the singing so much; also the fellowship of the friendly people. But the verse I read on that plaque stayed with me.

I would sit in the Temple at Huntington, West Virginia and have a mental picture of what the church would look like if all the members were like me.

One day I went home from church and wrote this down. I called it:

Something to Think About

Then I thought of the Heavenly Father
as He looks down from His throne on High,
and I wondered what He thought
of Christians such as I.

I thought of the sorrow ‘twould give Him
I thought of the anguish, the pain
He would feel He had sent Christ Jesus
To die on Calvary, in vain.

Then I thought of the joy ‘twould give Him
If we were all like the faithful few;
Now friends, think this over,
What kind of Christian are you?

                     Merle Craigmiles